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Poor frustrated man!


What does it all mean?







The four most common image file formats on the web are GIF, JPG, TIFF, and PNG. The first two have been a standard in web browsers since the beginning. The third and fourth ones are not really a new formate in and of themselves, but they are newcomers to web graphics and until recently were only supported in web browsers through the use of proprietary plug-ins.

































An acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, created originally in 1987 to facilitate the exchange of images between different platforms...Learn More



An acronym for Joint Photographic Experts Group, this file format is the Internet standard for presenting photo realistic images...Learn More

































An acronym for Portable Network Graphics format originally developed as a replacement format for both GIF and JPEG...Learn More



An Acronym for Tag Image File Format TIFF is the format of choice for archiving important images where you want to maintain the integrity of the file....Learn More

































RT Multimedia Services provides this useful information courtesy of ULEAD Systems Inc. RT Multimedia’s staff have used ULEAD Systems graphic and photo imaging editing software for 10 years and highly recommend their products. ULEAD Systems offers the same advanced software features as other larger companies but at a more reasonable price. Visit their site for more information on their products www.ulead.com.







GIF - An acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, created originally in 1987 by CompuServe to facilitate the exchange of images between different platforms. The file format is known for its compression and the fact that it can store and display multiple images. The major drawback to GIF is that images can only use up to 256 distinct colors to display their data. For photographic-quality images, this is a significant obstacle. Fortunately, the GIF file format contains a small workaround: the file itself can have a color palette that each stored image uses in addition to the local palettes created for colors custom to those specific images. This means that most images stored as GIFs have access to potentially more than the 256 colors technically allowed by GIF.







However, the GIF file format is still not the best medium with which to display your family photos on the web. Where GIF excels is in storing and compressing text-based images, line and clip art. Because these types of images don't require millions of colors, they can quite easily be stored as GIFs with minimal, if any at all, degradation.







Finally, one of the more popular uses of the GIF file format is that of animation. Built-in natively to the format are controls for image delay, layer transparency, and layer position, among others (layer here refers to each distinct image contained within the file). By cleverly utilizing these features, people on the Web have created some truly astounding animations using animation software programs.




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JPEG/JPG - .JPG file extension, pronounced Jay Peg Developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group, this file format is the Internet standard for presenting photo realistic images. It has the capability to compress large images down to very small file sizes while retaining the overall photographic quality of the image. JPEG files can use any number of colors up, so it's a very convenient format for 24-bit images (True Color, which supports more than 16 million colors).







Unfortunately, the one characteristic of JPG files that makes them great for the Internet is also its greatest drawback. The more you compress an image (edit it and save it more than one time), the more information that is lost. That means that high quality photos become blurry, indistinct, and downright UN-viewable at the highest levels of compression. Therefore, when saving files as JPEGs it's absolutely critical that you maintain a careful balance between compression and quality.







When choosing to save a file, sometimes it can be difficult deciding on which format would best serve your purposes. The rule of thumb is this: if your image is text-based, or contains mostly clipart, line art, or other drawings, then you should save it in the TIFF or GIFF format and use that as your master file; however, if your image contains mostly photorealistic information and will be viewed on the internet or sent via email , your best bet is JPG for smaller file size.




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PNG - .PNG file extension, the pronunciation 'Ping'. Originally the Portable Network Graphics format was developed by Thomas Boutell, Tom Lane, et al as a replacement format for both GIF and JPEG - it natively supports all the characteristics of both formats, and then some, but it seems to have been forgotten in the push to make web browsers bigger, better, and more burly. Only recently have browsers begun supporting this format without the need for special proprietary plug-ins.







As mentioned above, the greatest advantage to using PNG is that it supports all the features of both GIF and JPEG. If you have text or line art, you can activate the GIF-like color reduction options and create a smaller file with no lossy compression. On the other hand, if you're saving photorealistic images you can activate the JPEG-like compression schemes and save them that way, also with no loss during compression (unlike JPEG which varies from near-loss less to extremely lossy). In addition to these features, it also supports alpha channels for masking, gamma for color correction, and storing 48-bit color images (JPEG can only go as high as 24-bit).







However, there is a drawback to all this: PNG files tend to generally be larger than JPEG files as they almost always use a loss less compression scheme. (Though often times when used with the same color palettes as GIF files they tend to be smaller.) Additionally, while modern browsers do natively support this format, they don't necessarily support all of its functionality. Finally, PNG does not support animation, perhaps the only feature it does not share with GIF.  If you decide to go with PNG, you may find the results are not always what you expect.




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NOTE: Netscape Navigator v4.04 or earlier doesn't support PNG's without the use of special proprietary plug-ins. If you are using an earlier version of Netscape Navigator, then the images on this page may not display.







TIFF - (.TIF file extension, pronounced Tiff) Tagged Image File Format TIFF is the format of choice for archiving important images. TIFF is THE leading commercial and professional image standard. TIFF is the most universal and most widely supported format across all platforms, Mac, Windows, Unix. Data up to 48 bits is supported.







TIFF supports most color spaces, RGB, CMYK, YCbCr, etc. TIFF image files optionally use LZW lossless compression. Lossless means there is no quality loss due to compression. Lossless guarantees that you can always read back exactly what you thought you saved, bit-for-bit identical, without data corruption. This is very critical factor for archiving master copies of important images. Most image compression formats are lossless, EXCEPT with JPG and Kodak PhotoCD PCD files being the main exceptions.







It is not necessary to say much about TIF. It works, it's important, it's practical, it's the standard universal format for high quality images, it simply does the best job the best way. Give TIF very major consideration, both for photos and documents, especially for archiving anything. But TIF files for photo images are generally pretty large. Uncompressed TIFF files are about the same size in bytes as the image size in memory. Regardless of the novice view, this size is a plus, not a disadvantage. Large means lots of detail, and it's a good thing. 24 bit RGB image data is 3 bytes per pixel. That is simply how large the image data is, and TIF LZW stores it with recoverable full quality in a lossless format (and again, that's a good thing)ng where quality is important. So if you are going to save photos for future use in business then get yourself plenty of extra hard drive space or RW CD’s.






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